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he developed those at an early age. i have some examples for you. he never once yelled at me. i never saw him yell at anybody. never saw him hit anybody. though he is my big brother, he never hit me. not once. however, he was able to convince me i had been insulted so agregiously and should be so enraged that i should launch into a physical assault. on him? no, no. on her. that was the power of subtle persuasion. to this day nobody can figure out what he allegedly did to deserve this. i'm sorry about that.
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there's a saying. clothes make the man. naked people have little or no influence on society. sure we have all heard that. most people have a strong inclination, proclivity to remain closed in public, though there are certain exceptions in certain neighborhoods, we don't need to get into that. however such were powers he had of subtle persuasion that he convinced me as a 5-year-old to do the following. one, pull off my clothing. two, put on a ski mask. three, streak through the neighbor's family room while they were in there watching tv on a random suburban weeknight. so the power of subtle pers wake indeed. on a more serious and less embarrassing note, he was a relentlessly positive and
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hopeful person. the best was always to come. he was a golden guy who foresaw a golden future and very humble. he taught me over the years to stay positive, whether it be all life's big milestones, the schools, jobs. don't say it that way, think this way. if you think that way will it happen. that was his perspective. one example of the most trivial things he stayed positive about is registration tickers or car decals, you only get one shot at those things. stick it on there. if you mess it up, forget it. of course i messed it up, out there showing him the car, lamenting. he said no, you are looking at this all wrong. you see, what this is -- this he was reaching and struggling. but he said, no. it is a sign of human
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fraility, you see. so i'm suddenly proud i would be able to drive around and show off my human fraility to everybody. that is the kind of thing he was able to spin and make positive. finally he was humble. he was the epitome of the saying, it is amazing how much can be accomplished when nobody cares who gets the credit. he had so many professional achievements, yet he never talked about them. he cared about other people. so i hope that you ask yourselves what would the world be like if only a fraction had the mind set he had. stay humble, positive and do it right. he definitely did it right. in conclusion he was not an overly emotional person. that extended to the way he said goodbye.
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he was calm and instead. it was always shake hands, see you next time. no matter where he was going, see you when i come back. that is the way we left it in may of this year, the last time i saw him. so now that it is time to say goodbye, i don't see any reason to deviate from that custom. so my big brother, my best friend, i will see you next time. i'm hill ri stevens, or as my family calls me h.i. i was born when he was 20. mine were not related to diplomacy. as a toddler he would send me on missions, which i was a willing accomplice. he sent me to stick carrots up my younger brothers nose as he slept in on christmas morning. that was really fun. growing up i was always able to brag that i had a
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brother in a foreign country. i got to visit him in these places. we road camels around pyramids in egypt, bathed in tunisia, snorkled in sinai and danced in israeli discos. in libya i played tennis with the daughter of his libyan tennis coach, learned about medical school in libya and jogged through the ruins. but, as we said, chris always came home and entertained us when he did. i worked hard to sharpen tennis and skiiing skills. i was proud the year chris said you ski faster than the master. [ laughter] >> we got up early to be the first on the ski lift. at my wedding he said he would be happy by to perform a libyan liberation dance to celebrate the
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success of the revolution. [ laughter] >> he inspired me to travel and work inter nationally. i filled out an application for the peace corp. during my senior year because he had. he taught english in morocco. i taught math. we talked about the joys of living and working over seas. we spoke french together. later he helped me get an assignment with a pediatric a.i.d.s. group. now i work in a county hospital in stockton caring for patients from all over the world. like chris, i am genuinely interested in listening to their stories and learning about their lives. i was really hoping he would still be here. i dreamt of someday working as a detector in a country where he was ambassador. i was looking forward to showing off my growing new
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family. our daughter was born in april. chris got to hold her before leaving for his post in libya. as our father said best at 5 a.m. on september 12th, he made it to the top. he tried his best. he was a great brother. i couldn't agree more. [applause]
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good afternoon, steve mcdonald. chris and i have been friends since we pledged the fraternity at uc berkeley in 1978. i want to first thank chris's family for allowing me the honor of speaking today as we celebrate chris's amazing life.
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i look at this crowd. i try to figure out how much he achieved so much while making personal and professional connections and lifelong friends all over the world. this beautiful light-filled rotunda is the perfect seting to celebrate chris's life. he was a true renaissance man and offered a lesson in modern day enlightenment to all he met. some say don't sweat the small stuff. chris was successful because he did pay attention to little details and common courtesis that showed the world that he cared. i think the roots of chris's enlightening character were evident when we were undergrads at cal. i would like to share examples. first of all we will start superficially on the topic of fashion. chris like many of our pledge class was from piedmont. i recall thinking what is up with piedmont. the khakis, penny loafers and button-down shirts?
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chris lived in the room across from mine. seemed he had adopted this as his uniform. but in hindsight i can see he was offering his own form of enlightenment. he was guiding us away from the dark time known as the disco era. [ laughter] who knew that chris would work his timeless style for the next 34 years. look at the effect on me, who is wearing the button-down now that. was the first life lesson from chris. stick with the classics, they won't go out of style. that said, my wife has gently advised me the definition of a classic look does not extend to certain flannel shirts from 1982. our next topic on the less sons that we learned from chris back then involve culture. this is beyond the stereotypical fraternity life experience, because i was lucky enough to live with chris and another
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famous piedmonter austin tichner. talk about enlightening. he dubbed our large room the triple occupancy club. little did i know this came with the added bonus of an extracurricular education in the arts. chris arrived with his stack of lps, many courtesy of his step dad, bob. the chronicle music critic at the time. austin contributed his eclectic theater and comedy recordings and, well, himself. those of you that know austin know that nothing more need be said. balancing that urbane cultural scene chris invited me to visit his grandfather, where we got to do gold panning from the virgin load of dirt. it was lesson in history from the stevens family. i will never forget what a great experience it was to live with those two guys.
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moving on to his study habits, everyone knew how brilliant he was, an enlightened manner. he was truly the smartest man in the room but never comported himself that way. he was confident and outgoing. never arrogant. always self-effacing, quick with a laugh or grin. always looking for ways to learn something from everyone else around him. he was no surprise considering chris came from such good stock. chris studied western civilizations and immerses himselfs in cultures and languages and took multiple trips to study abroad in spain, italy, morocco. perhaps most importantly chris knew how to relax and enjoy the moment. when i would periodically freak out about my course work or some o ther problem i thought i had he would make me stop and take a break, play a game of back
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gammon on the balcony and enjoy the view. it was an early lesson in the zenlike mindfulness of chris. no wonder he exceled in such a challenging and stressful career. i don't want you to think chris was perfect. after extensive research we came up with at least one or two blemishes on his record, sort of. in the interest of time i'm leaving out inappropriate limericks about philosophers. the only time i saw him lose his temper is when we were sharing a double room in the last year. some of the lessen lightened brethren decided to make a bunch of noise during finals week. when yelling at these guys didn't do the trick, chris burst out of bed, ran out onto the balcony, grabbed a water fire extinguisher and let them have it. he seemed much less angry when he came into the room and particularly pleased when the guys that he drenched came running up the stairs yelling my name. [ laughter]
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ambassador stevens did not correct the record. i feel this is a rare example of a failed diplomatic effort on his part. [ laughter] >> he did seem to sleep remarkably well after that, however. another topic a propos with chris is his relationship with material things. he didn't care about things, accept to the extend they were a means to an end. providing access to people, places, culture and activities he wanted to participate in. i wanted to mention a couple of examples from the uc berkeley archives in that regard. his typewriter. chris arrived at cal with a beautiful, fancy electric typewriter, a covetted object in that prelaptop and prepc era. chris decided that beautiful machine was too
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bulky and didn't like being tethered to an electrical outlet. one day he traded it for a little olivetti manual. he was so proud. he loved the tactile sense of klaking away, which he did well. he created great works. the next topic are shoes. as enlightened members of the ato fraternity, our class came up with an idea to have a great gatsby party every year. this was a major event where we had a band, pond and duck. chris wanted to dress the part and was delighted to find a snazzy pair of gaudy wing tips. he seemed undeterred by the fact these were golf spikes and that even after i mentioned to him that he would literally be cutting a rug if he wore those things, he bought them any
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way and unscrewed the spikes and danced up a storm. the floors needed refinishing any way. chris was one of the first people i knew in the prestarbucks era who bought coffee beans and ground them himself. he bought a coffeemaker and set it up. he insisted this was better than the rot gut than in the kitchen. i had to admit, he was right. it was another example of chris showing me how to live in the moment. i laughed when i read senator mccain's recent remarks recalling when chris insisted on personally brewing the senator a proper cup of cappuccino during their meetings in libya. the next topic of material goods would be his donkey, or lack thereof. i love the picture. it reminded me of a priceless letter he sent to
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me in law school when he was over there in the peace corps. chris wrote wonderful notes and told me when he went running in the village where he was staying, only to have locals come up beside him and say where is it, where did it go. where is what? your donkey. i don't have a donkey. >> why are you running? [ laughter] >> for exercise. >> exercise? are you nuts? if you want exercise, come work on my orchard, you crazy american. >> chris succeeded because he knew how to laugh at himself and relate to people around him. there are two more memories i want to share. one deals with government and jazz. chris always wanted to work for the state department. he always wanted to be involved in the foreign service. he took the foreign service exam when we were undergrads at cal. he came back the first
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time, pleased with results on the written but felt he didn't do so well on the orals. the question that seemed to trip him up and left him perplexed was the following. mr. stevens, please compare american government and jazz music. chris told us he didn't quite know how to handle that question. my suggestion involved people blowing loudly on their horns or banging loud' on their drums was not terribly helpful. we decided to ask questions to trip up the applicant. we didn't have the internet to find a quick answer but figured it out. though chris may not have come up with the answer during that exam he certainly lived the message taught by this interesting comparison. both american democracy and jazz music involved ongoing experimentation. they involve unscripted action and improvisation as we figure out the best way to get along. both depend on a group
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allowing a soloist or representative to step forward and recite his piece while the rest of the group provides background harm any and rhythm. when both forms work, the world is treated to a remarkable result. where ad hoc and seemingly dissonent voices become a part. we know the amazing things chris achieved when he led the way as america collaborated with the libyan people and our allies to move forward toward greater freedom and representative form of government. the middle east and especially libya was chris's bandstand. he knew the members gained through collaboration and personal approach. i want to share one last memory. our daughter maggie was born in 1994 with profound
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life threatening problems and required many surgeries and long hospitalizations during the first few years. "the chronicle" ran a story in 1996. chris's momma -- mom mary cut out that and sent it to cairo. chris took his time to write a thoughtful note expressing his concern and wishing us well, commenting on how cute maggie was. he closed that note as follows. as they say in this part of the world, and you will forgive me for butchering the arabic. may allah make things easier for you. this is my wish for chris's family and friends today, as we mourn his loss. the world will never -- the world never saw a kinder, more resolute and enlightened soul. his integrity, character,
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empathy, his courage, his tolerance were ever present, unchanging, even with all his success and fame and in the face of every challenge. we feel so sad to have lost chris but so lucky to have known him. we will do everything we can to make sure his memory lives on and foster and support the people-first diplomacy he stood for and advocated both at home and abroad. b [ applause ]
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October 27, 2012 10:00pm-10:30pm PDT

TOPIC FREQUENCY Libya 5, Cal 3, Us 3, Morocco 2, Undergrads 2, Austin 2, The Peace Corp. 1, Snorkled 1, Fraternity 1, Yelling 1, Stevens 1, Applicant 1, Maggie 1, Stockton 1, Hill Ri Stevens 1, Bob 1, Steve Mcdonald 1, Gammon 1, Olivetti 1, Mr. Stevens 1
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